(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Communications"

STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



THE ART UNION. 



161 



Turnerian precision the cliffs of Orvieto and the groves of 
Vallombrosa, must needs moralize the walls of the Old 
Water-Color Exhibition with a scattering of skeletons out 
of the ugliest scenes of ' The Pilgrim's Progress ' and a 
ghastly sunset, illustrating the progress — in the contrary 
direction — of the manufacturing districts." 

" Mr. Leslie, indeed, still disports himself occasionally in a punt at 
Henley, and Mr. Hook takes his summer lodgings, as usual, on the 
coast, and Mr. Collier admits the suggestion of the Squire's young ladies, 
that they may gracefully be painted in a storm of primroses — but the 
shade of the metropolis never for an instant relaxes its grasp on their 
((imagination ; Mr. Leslie cannot paint the barmaid at the ' Angler's 
(Rest ' but in a pair of high-heeled shoes ; Mr. Hook never lifts a wave 
which would be formidable to a trim built wherry; and although Mr. 
Fildes brought some agreeable arrangements of vegetables from Venice, 
and, in imitation of old William Hunt, here and there some primroses in 
tumblers carried out the sentiment of Mr. Collier's on the floor— not all 
the influence of Mr. Matthew Arnold and the Wordsworth Society to- 
gether obtained, throughout the whole concourse of the royal or plebian 
salons of the town, the painting of so much as one primrose nested in its 
rock, or one branch of wind-tossed eglantine. " 

Mr. Ruskin ends his lectures on the "Art of England," 
with a quotation from a letter from Miss Alexander (" Fran- 
cesca "), the closing passage of which "alludes singularly 
enough to the picture of Giorgione's, which I had proposed 
in terminating this lecture to give as an instance of the 
undisturbed art of a faultless master." The picture is 
Giorgione's " Madonna" at Castelfranco, which Miss Alex- 
ander says "does not look like the work of a mortal hand," 
but reminds her of what a poor woman said to her in 
Florence once: "What a pity that people are not as large 
now as they used to be !" when Miss Alexander asked her 
what made her suppose that people were larger in old times 
the woman said, looking surprised: "Surely you cannot 
think that the people who built the Duomo were no larger 
than we are ?" Now, " allowing" (Mr. Ruskin adds) " the 
art of Giorgione to be the wild fruitage of Castelfranco, 
and that of Brunelleschi no more than the exhalation of the 
marsh of Arno, and perceiving, as I do, the existing Art of 
England to be the mere effluence of Grosvenor-Square and 
Clapham Junction, I yet -trust to induce in my readers, 
during the hours of future council, some doubt whether 
Grosvenor-Square and Clapham Junction be indeed the 
natural and divinely appointed produce of the Valley of the 
Thames." — Pall Mall Budget. 



'THE AMERICAN ART ASSOCIATION' 
PRIZE EXHIBITION. 



AND THE 



To the Editor of The Art Union : 

Sir : — Can you tell me anything about " The American 
Art Association " whose circular I have received, asking 
for a contribution to its coming exhibition ? As no name 
of any person is given in any portion of the document it 
has a suspicious appearance ; I would like to know also, who 
constitute the jury of admission, and also the hanging 
committee. Artist. 

We know very little about this alleged " Art Association," 
except that it is not incorporated, and is not an " associa- 
tion " at all in the ordinary sense of the word. It is simply 



the personal enterprise of a dealer in bric-a-brac and pic 
tures, who seeks to give to his private business a public 
character and importance that it would not have were its 
true nature known. The name was adopted we believe by 
a former partner who styled himself an "Art expert;" since 
his withdrawal we understand that the Art element, such as 
it is, is furnished by an auctioneer (the head of the house 
being only a business man), who is probably both the jury 
of admission and the hanging committee — no artists are 
members of the "association." 

This so-called Art Association is sending out circulars 
setting forth a project of raising a fund of $15,000, for six 
prizes for the six best oil paintings that are contributed to 
an exhibition to be held in March. 

The names of the jury by whom the awards are to be 
made are not given ; but are to be selected from the con- 
tributors to the fund, only a few of whom have ever shown 
the slightest interest in American Art, whi'e some of them 
are its enemies, and no one is recognized by artists as a 
fair and competent judge. 

An individual who it is understood has, been very active 
in promoting this project, has repeatedly declared that he 
would ruin the Academy. That the " association " intends 
to withdraw the support of the artists not only from that 
institution, but from all others, is manifest by the declara- 
tion of its proprietors, that "for its encouragement and sup- 
port we now look to you and all native artists to give it 
your undivided support," and also by the holding of the two 
exhibitions at the same times as the fall and annual exhi- 
bitions of the Academy. The circulars are nothing less 
than a declaration of war against the Academy and other 
artists' societies, and it remains to be seen if the members 
of the Academy and the artists who have been benefited 
by its exhibitions in past years will now desert it for this 
prospect of pecuniary gain. We believe that most of the 
contributors to this prize fund are friendly to the Academy, 
and that they promised their quotas simply because they 
thought it would be a good thing for the development of 
American Art, or because they were asked to do so by 
persons who could not well be denied. We do not believe 
that they would knowingly take part in any action that was 
calculated to injure any institutions of the artists, and par- 
ticularly one of which the " true inwardness " is for them 
to furnish the money and their influence to build up a 
private business. 

We learn that one gentleman, foremost both by word 
and deed, in his interest in the development of American 
Art, was solicited for a contribution, but declined for the 
reason that he thought that the Academy of Design was 
the proper field for such competitive exhibitions rather 
than Mr. Sutton's gallery. 

There are not enough artists in the country to furnish 
two simultaneous exhibitions with first-rate pictures — one 
or both must suffer. • 

Notwithstanding the stereotyped strictures that appear 
every year against the conduct of the Academy, the fact 
remains, that it has thousands of friends who do ap- 
preciate the value of its exhibitions and the great benefits 



162 



THE ART UNION. 



that have resulted from its Art schools. It is to be hoped 
that the artists will fully consider this prize exhibition 
project before sending in their adhesions to it. Let them 
wait until they can talk the matter well over together next 
fall. On their side, at least, nothing will be gained by 
undue precipitation. 

It now behooves the Academy to seize the occasion to 
make an effort worthy of its name, its members, its fel- 
lows and its friends, which shall bring out fortune from 
what now seems to be impending misfortune. Editor. 



the shore as this year." "Well, what has that to do with 
me ? " " Aint you a peanut man ? " he inquired, looking 
at my basket and large umbrella. L. 



To the Editor of The Art Union : 

Sir : — In an article in the current number of The Art 
Union upon the Pennslyvania schools, the writer speaking 
of them and of the National Academy schools says : " Pro- 
bably the main difference in the advantages offered to the 
student by the two institutions is the fact that one of them 
is in New York and the other in Philadelphia," thereby 
allowing the reader to infer that they are otherwise on the 
•same footing. Now this is conspicuously far from the fact. 
The National Academy is entirely under the management 
of artists ; the school committees are composed exclusively 
of artists of wide repute, and every step taken is under the 
advice of a large body of professional painters and 
sculptors. 

The Pennsylvania Academy is a body of non-professional 
amateurs. No artist has any voice in its direction, and the 
school committees are made up of men who have no prac- 
tical knowledge of art. However admirable the building 
may be in its arrangements, and however excellent the 
system of instruction — a matter open to serious question — 
the fact remains that there is a vast difference in the posi- 
tion of the two institutions. — I am, sir, yours, &c, 

Artist. 



To the Editor : My friends were amused when I told the 
following story: maybe it will also amuse your readers : 

Last summer I was down on the Jersey coast making 
studies until well on in the autumn. I was weather-beaten 
and I suppose rather shabby when I came up, and I had 
with me a good deal of stuff which I put into the baggage 
car. There was an easel, camp-chair, and large sketching 
umbrella in one bundle, and a big square basket, covered 
with green baize, in which were my most precious studies. 
I dismounted at a suburban station where probably, some 
people might know me, as I had long lived near it. When 
the baggage man came to take off the checks he said, " I'm 
glad to hear you've had a good season!" I had had a 
good season, but I was surprised that the baggage man had 
heard of it. Some newspaper man must have written me 
up, and my fame-was extending since it had reached into so 
unexpected a place : well, art was making progress ; before 
long we artists would be honored, even in America. All 
this flashed across my mind in an instant as I calmly asked 
" How did you know it ?" "Why," replied my friend, " I 
see in the papers as there was never as many peanuts eat at 



LITERARY NOTICES. 
WOOD ENGRAVING, a Manual of Instruction, by W. J. 
Linton. London : George Bell and Sons ; New York : 
Scribner, Welford & Co: 1884. 
A manual of instruction by a veteran engraver, though by 
one unaccustomed to writing, could hardly fail to be of 
service ; but Mr. Linton wields a well practised pen. 
From his hand we have a right to expect a manual both 
instructive and interesting. He does not disappoint us. 
Interesting to the ordinary reader, as well as to the student 
of engraving, he has made it by the explanation of what 
wood engraving is, and by a succinct yet clear history of 
the art, with which he commences ; and the after " manual 
of instruction " may be pronounced exhaustive. A mere 
list of the chapters will suffice in indication of so much : 
Of the difference between cutting and engraving ; of the tools 
required for engraving ; of drawing on wood for engraving ; 
of the method of procedure in engraving ; of things to be 
avoided ; of things to be aimed at; of beauty of line; of 
the use and abuse of photography ; of what constitutes an 
artist. And he supplements this course of teaching with an 
admirable catalogue raisonne'e of the works which he con- 
siders best as affording examples to the young engraver. A 
goodly number of well-chosen engravings help the teaching, 
and at the same time add to the interest of the work. Of 
course they have been chosen to enforce the writer's 
peculiar views; those of our readers who may recollect the 
tourney between him and the admirers of our popular 
American engraving, will not need to be told that he has his 
views, and that he can hold his own. That he has not changed 
them since he wrote his Practical Hints on Engraving (Lee 
& Shepard: Boston, 1879); and that his present writing 
would be well intended to clinch what was driven in by that 
former hammering, we are prepared for by the briefest of 
prefaces: — " The object of the following pages is to help 
toward forming a school of artist engravers. With that end 
in view, it has seemed necessary to assert as absolutely as 
possible the true principles of Art (such of course as appear 
true to me), and to criticise unsparingly whatever I find 
antagonistic to these. In doing this I have cared rather to 
have my meaning clear than to leave any room for misunder- 
standing through fear of wounding the susceptibilities of 
those whose opinions might oppose my own. I believe that 
engravers will thank me for this plainness, seeing that all 
has been said in the interest of their art, and not without an 
earnest hope of benefiting them in the work before them." 
It is but fair to acknowledge, however, that if by opponents 
his writing shall be deemed dogmatic or controversial, the 
more impartial critic must allow that it does not depart from 
professorial dignity, and that the absolute assertion of 
principles is not stronger than may be the right of one whose 
life's practice has consistently upheld his " dogmas." Also